Ukraine is surrounded by Russian troops on its aligning border, and the West is up at arms once again wondering what Vladimir Putin’s next move could be. President Biden in a recent news conference went ahead to admit he believes Putin is finally going to move in the Ukrainian border, ruffling several feathers on several sides.
“Do I think he’ll test the West, test the United States and NATO, as significantly as he can? Yes, I think he will,” Biden said in a recent press conference to mark the official end of his first year and acknowledge everything to come in the second. He continued, “But I think he will pay a serious and dear price for it that he doesn’t think now will cost him what it’s going to cost him. And I think he will regret having done it.”
He made sure to mention that it might not lead to a full-scale invasion but still, “My guess is he will move in. He has to do something,” clarified Biden when asked about what his prediction is, also mentioning “He is trying to find his place in the world between China and the west.”
Several countries have threatened strict sanctions on Russia if they move ahead towards an invasion, but Putin so far seems undeterred as troops continue to line up the border of Ukraine. Biden even said, “He’s never seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed if he moves, number one,” referring to talks between him and Putin just last month after tensions last seemed to escalate at the Ukrainian border.
While this narrative continues, on one hand, Russia on the other hand denies any such decisions or measures of threats. Putin has even gone so far as saying that they are merely deploying their military on their own territory, and not explicitly posing as a threat. In fact, the Russian side of the story claims NATO is assisting Ukraine in escalating tensions out of nothing, in order for Kyiv to take back the two easter regions from separatists.
Russian armed forces have 900,000 total active military personnel compared to the 209,000 of Ukraine, a major reason why the troops on the border are so intimidating for the smaller country. Despite the improvements in military and weapons for Ukraine they cannot outshine Russia if it really comes down to war. A research fellow at London’s Chatham House think-tank, Mathieu Boulègue, commented on the matter saying, “For Ukraine, the issue would be … to resist as much as they can, pray for assistance from the West, and ultimately fight back. If Russia invades in full, the question for Kyiv will be to mount counter-insurrection-style warfare to make the cost of invasion tremendous for Russia.”